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How To Install Fonts on Windows, Mac & Linux

Tina Sieber 22-08-2009

<firstimage=”//” />How To Install Fonts on Windows, Mac & Linux InstallFonts04A pretty font can dramatically enhance a graphic design. And a unique font is a must, if text is involved in a logo design. Most brands create their own custom font to express the uniqueness of their product.


Few of us have the skills to create our own fonts. Fortunately, there are tons of free text fonts available on sites like DaFont Dafont: Free Text Fonts Read More , FFonts, 1001 Free Fonts or Fontex. Once you have downloaded your favorites, you’ll need to figure out how to install those fonts. Here’s a basic guide on how to install fonts on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Please uncompress / unzip all fonts before trying to install them, preferably into a separate folder. If you select a manual installation process, you can unzip files right into the respective font folder. Make sure you delete eventually included text files, which don’t belong into this folder.


Supported fonts:

  • TrueType
  • OpenType
  • PostScript type 1 (requires Adobe Type Manager (ATM) or ATM Deluxe; comes with Windows XP and up)
  • Windows bit mapped FON

Installation process under XP:


how to install fonts

  • Close all applications.
  • Select font files and copy them into C:\Windows\Fonts folder.

Alternative installation process under XP:

  • Close all applications.
  • Go to > Start Menu > Control Panel (> Appearance and Themes) > Fonts.
  • From the > Fonts folder menu open > File > Install a new font…
  • Browse for your fonts and click > OK to install.

Installation process under Vista and 7:

  • Close all applications.
  • Right-click font files to be installed.
  • A menu will pop up, select > Install.

Alternative installation process under Vista and 7:

  • Close all applications.
  • Go to > Start Menu > Control Panel (> Appearance and Personalization) > Fonts.
  • Right-click into the list of fonts and select > Install a new font… from the menu.
  • Browse for your fonts and click > OK to install.

Ubuntu Linux

Supported fonts:

  • TrueType
  • OpenType

Installation process to install for single user:

how to install fonts

  • Close all applications.
  • Open > /home folder.
  • In the menu open > View and > Show Hidden Files.
  • You will now see the > .fonts folder. If not, create that folder.
  • Copy font files into the > .fonts folder.

Installation process to install for all users:

  • Close all applications.
  • Save fonts in a separate folder on > Desktop, e.g. > newfonts.
  • Open > terminal and start command > sudo cp -R ~/Desktop/newfonts /usr/share/fonts
  • Optional: rebuild font cache with command > sudo fc-cache -f -v

Damian has written a thorough post on How To Install Microsoft Text Fonts in Ubuntu Linux How to Install Microsoft Text Fonts in Ubuntu Linux Windows-based fonts don't appear by default in Linux. This isn't really a problem, but if you want better compatibility or just like the look of them, we've got you covered. Read More .

Mac OS X

Supported fonts:

  • Multiple Master (OS 10.2+)
  • TrueType
  • data fork TrueType (DFont; OS X+)
  • OpenType
  • PostScript type 1 (requires ATM or ATM Deluxe; comes with OS X)

Installation process under Mac OS X:

  • Close all applications.
  • Open folder that contains fonts to install.
  • Select fonts to be installed.
  • Drag and drop the selected font files into the > Library’s Font folder.

Installation process under Mac OS 10.3+ using FontBook:

  • Close all applications.
  • Open folder that contains fonts to install.
  • Double-click icon of font to be installed.
  • FontBook opens and you can preview the font.
  • To install only for you, click > Install Font button.
  • To install for all users, select > Preferences and change > Default Install Location from > User to > Computer, then click > Install Font button.

install a font


I hope the above guide was thorough enough, but you may still run into problems. Just in case, here are possible solutions to some of the most common issues.

Fonts don’t show in program.

  • Make sure you installed a supported font format.
  • Exit all programs before installing new fonts.
  • Restart programs after installing new fonts.
  • If restarting the program fails, reboot operating system.
  • Were the fonts installed into the correct folders?

Issues with displaying or printing text.

  • Mac: To properly view and print PostScritp type 1 fonts, ATM is required.
  • PostScript type 1 fonts consist of two files: PFB (printer font binary) and PFM (printer font metrics). Both need to be installed in order for these fonts to display correctly both on screen and in print.

Fonts not available to applications running in Classic mode (Mac).

  • Install fonts in Macintosh TrueType or Macintosh PostScript into the fonts folder inside classic system folder.

Font only available to user who installed it (Mac, Linux).

  • Mac: Make sure fonts were installed into the system library font folder, instead of /Users/username/Library/Fonts.
  • Linux: Make sure fonts were installed into system folder. See instructions for details, eventually repeat the process.

Now that you know how to install new fonts, are you asking yourself where to find them? Mark has written a post about 5 Excellent Sources To Download Free Text Fonts The 8 Best Free Font Websites for Free Fonts Online Not everyone can afford a licensed font. These websites will help you find the perfect free font for your next project. Read More . If you’re creative you can even create your own fonts. Saikat has a post about How To Create Your Own Fonts & Characters on Windows How to Create Your Own Fonts and Characters on Windows The Private Character Editor is almost a monochrome replica of MS Paint but with a different creative use. If you want to create your own fonts or symbols, this is the tool to fire up. Read More and Kabir wrote about 2 Free Tools To Make Your Own Text Fonts 2 Free Tools To Make Your Own Text Font Read More , which will also work for Linux and Mac.

What’s your favorite font or typeface?

Image credits: nookiez

Explore more about: Fonts, Writing Tips.

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  1. Neeraj's Software Discussion
    August 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Yes, these stylish fonts surely enhance the graphic capability of our system. But having a lot of fonts which we may not use daily can cause slowing down of the system. It is better to keep these fonts in some other folder other than the fonts folder in control panel and install them whenever we want them.

  2. lefty.crupps
    August 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Your example for Ubuntu Linux is really just for the GNOME desktop, so that can be used in any GNOME desktop distro.

    For the KDE desktop, using a file manager (Dolphin or Konqueror), put in the location bar:
    to get the list of fonts installed; new fonts can be copied into the folders here. Additionally, you can just right-click on a font file in KDE to install it within that right-click menu.

    I was able to successfully install a PostScript Type 1 (.pfb) file on my Debian Sid / KDE4 system just fine, and use them in OpenOffice immediatly upon restarting that app.

  3. Free kaspersky key
    August 23, 2009 at 10:30 am

    It worked for me.Great article.

    • Tina
      August 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

      Very glad to hear you found the article helpful! :)
      What operating system did you try it on?

  4. Ghisa
    August 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I use Type1 fonts under Debian Lenny, Squeeze testing, Ubuntu...
    With Openoffice 2...3...3.1.1 etc. Opentype fonts don't work.
    But they work with abiword. Maybe one day even Ooo will be able to use them.
    So, according to my experience, under Gnu/linux you can use
    Truetype, Opentype (everywhere but in openoffice) & Type1 fonts.